Thursday, March 17, 2011

Authorities again fail to ensure justice for the death of Mulrunji Doomadgee

Amnesty International has expressed outrage at the Queensland Police Service’s failure to secure justice for the death in custody of Indigenous man Mulrunji Doomadgee on Palm Island in 2004.

The Queensland Police Service yesterday rejected the Crime and Misconduct Commission’s recommendation to bring disciplinary action against the officers involved in the flawed investigation that followed Mr Doomadgee’s death.

Several inquests into Mr Doomadgee’s death and criminal proceedings against Sergeant Hurley have not resulted in accountability for Mr Doomadgee’s tragic death.

“This decision means that here we are, six years on, and achieving justice for Mr Doomadgee and his family is further away from becoming a reality,” said Katie Wood, Amnesty International Australia.

Last year, the Crime and Misconduct Commission found that investigations into Mr Doomadgee’s death were neither impartial nor thorough.

“In what may seem like an obvious requirement, investigations into deaths in police custody must be conducted independently of the police responsible for that custody,” said Katie Wood.

“A lack of impartiality and independence leads to flawed police investigations and ultimately denies any opportunity for justice for a death in custody,” said Katie Wood.

Amnesty International has raised its concerns about the death and subsequent investigation with various UN bodies. In 2008, for instance, the UN Committee Against Torture urged Australia to ensure that any deaths in detention are investigated promptly, independently and impartially.

The organisation also continues to call on both the Queensland and Federal Governments to ensure that the 1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody recommendations are implemented, so that another Indigenous family does not have to again endure such a distressing situation.

“Ensuring accountability for the taking of Mr Doomadgee’s life is one very significant part of preventing future tragic deaths,” said Katie Wood.

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